A Two-Tone grade 345 "transit" movement
Elgin Watch Databases
Although it may require some digging, a lot of useful information can be
found out about Elgin watches by using these databases. Right now,
everything is geared toward experienced watch collectors, but even
people who know very little about watches should be able to pick out
some useful facts.
The Elgin Serial Number database was created by scanning and
OCR'ing the 1950 serial number list. Then I had to go through
and clean up the list by hand, changing 'O's to '0's, 'S's to
'5's, and '11's to '0's etc. Then I wrote some code to do a
bunch of sanity checks on the data (serial number runs should
increase and not overlap, high grade numbers should appear
early, etc.) Then I verified the runs that I found with the
runs that Dennis Booth typed in by hand and resolved all
discrepancies between the two databases. Next I compared the
production totals by grade with the list created by John Miller
in Roy Ehrhardt's "Elgin Watch Company" book. Next I typed in
by hand which runs are marked with which name out of the 1896
material catalog. Finally, I have been checking the database
against watches that I've seen on the net and adding information
as I can find it.
The Elgin Grade Number database was typed in completely by hand from
many sources, mostly for Elgin Material Catalogs dating back to 1898.
I believe this database is the most ACCURATE Elgin serial number
list available anywhere, either computerized or on paper. As I
I have found a fair number of errors in Elgin's own serial number
I also believe that this database is the most COMPLETE serial number
list available anywhere, either computerized or on paper. I have many
runs recorded after the 1950 material catalog ends.
I have used the portions of the Elgin Master Records that I have
in order to make this database more complete and more accurate. For
example, only the master records tell you which serial numbers are
grade 277. The master records tell you what all runs are actually
grade 348's and which grade 164's are labelled Father Time. This is
information that is now public and can be used by anyone.